Champagne Challenge set for the off

PUBLISHED: 10:14 08 September 2011

The start of the 2011 Exe SC Champagne Challenge race

The start of the 2011 Exe SC Champagne Challenge race

fotoboat/Mike Rice

Over the next ten days sailors from the River Exe will be preparing themselves and their boats, and counting down to the start of the season's premier coastal racing event, writes Mike Rice.

The race, organised by Exe Sailing Club and promoted as the Champagne Challenge, starts from Exmouth on Saturday, September 17, at 1100 just offshore from the Lifeboat Station, and will take competitors around the distant Orestone and then into Torbay, finishing at Brixham.

As in recent years, the race and the ensuing celebrations kindly hosted by Brixham Yacht Club, are generously sponsored by Graham Sykes of Graham Sykes Insurance and Martin Lilley of Aqualine Bathrooms and Kitchens – both keen sailors and supporters of sail training on the Exe.

The start of the race will present a fine sight for spectators from the shore, with 50 or more competitors jockeying for position on the startline set by the Exmouth Lifeboat. If the wind is in the northerly sector, spectators will be treated to a fine display of brightly coloured spinnakers as competitors head south to Brixham.

Besides the Challenge Trophy itself awarded to the overall winner, special prizes will be awarded for meritorious performance, at the discretion of the sponsors, and a collection will be taken from competitors in support of the RNLI.

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